Interpreter's new reality

As any other aspect of our lives, our jobs have been re-shaped by this “new reality”. As language professionals we are used to perform remote work, but for interpreters reality is –or was– different.


Interpreter on VRI call


If you are an interpreter, unless you already had remote interpreting in your services array, then it is likely that your workflow was affected by the impossibility of organizing in-person events in most countries, and because of this, remote interpreting has gained a lot of importance in the past months.

However, remote interpreting is not something new: in fact over the phone interpreting (OPI) has been around since the 1950’s and is one of the most common types of remote interpreting, especially when it comes to assistance with health, legal, and migration matters. Even though right now it is commonly performed on a computer, the reference in the name continues to be used.

If you want to get into the remote interpreting field, there are a few things you should know before getting started. Apart from the minimum requirements for any remote interpreting service —interpreting abilities, a computer, good internet connection, and a proper headset—, there are a couple other things you should also take into consideration, especially now that medical remote interpreting is one of the most, if not the most, requested service within the remote interpreting industry.

Be HIPAA compliant

To be qualified to take medical assignments, most clients ask interpreters to provide valid proof of HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) compliance. If you want to learn more about the requirements and get a HIPAA compliance certificate check the HIPAA compliance for remote interpreters course. Please note that if you are part of the Interpreter Network you are eligible for free training and HIPAA-compliance certification specially designed for remote interpreters.

Get a medical interpreting certificate

Due to the very nature of this service, interpreters must be qualified to perform medical interpretation. Whenever we interpret, we must be sure we know about terminology, we know how to address to our target audience, and how to handle certain situations. However, for medical interpreting services this is much more important, and interpreter’s responsibility is bigger, as it’s someone’s health that we are talking about.

That’s why most of the LSPs that offer medical interpreting services ask for their interpreters to have at least a 60 hours course on medical interpreting and/or previous experience in the field.

Don’t forget about your workplace

Even though you won’t be in the same room as your client, you must take care of your workplace. Apart from making your workspace HIPAA compliant, that’s to say, having a separate room in which you can be alone during calls, with all the windows and doors closed, you must also take care of your background: a neutral background with a solid color is a must, especially if you are performing video remote interpreting (VRI).

Also, you should make sure that the room is properly insulated and no noise should come in or out during a call. The room should have good lighting and you should be dressed professionally, remember that even though you are not in the same room as the speaker, you should behave as if you were.

If you meet all the criteria described above and you if want to work as a remote interpreter, then you should consider joining’s Interpreter Network. If you want to get more information about’s Interpreter Network feel free to contact Enrique Manzo at .

Topics: interpreter,, Interpreter Network, vri, opi, hipaa, interpreting

Hayjor Roca

Written by Hayjor Roca

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